Thursday, May 2, 2013

Excerpt from Goodbye Sunshine

Here's an excerpt from my horror short novel, Goodbye Sunshine. Another excerpt can be found here.

     I sipped my coffee while staring at the half-eaten muffin in front of me. I didn’t recall the name of the coffee shop. I only knew it wasn’t a Starbucks. Out the window, I could see the Crossroads Theater.
     Earlier she pulled me into the front seat and stuffed the body into the back. She ripped off the cowling around the steering column and hotwired the car like a pro. After driving us here, she had the car taken away for disposal by one of the men in suits back at our home.
     Our home, I thought. It’d only been the second night and I was starting to think like them.
     I couldn’t tell if I was drinking coffee or dirty water, and the muffin went down like wet cardboard. I shoved it aside, only to have Clara shove it back.
     “No.” Her voice was firm but quiet. “Finish it, my love. It’s necessary now, but in time you will no longer need it.”
     “How much time?”
     She tilted her head to the side slightly. “Two weeks, maybe less. But you’ll get used to it all in a week.”
     I swallowed the pasty mix of muffin and coffee. I remembered getting out of the car and feeling the blood spread throughout my body, filling every organ, and even spreading into my limbs. The hunger disappeared into the background of my mind, diminished but not forgotten.
     She sat across from me in the coffee shop, looking spectacular. The blood at the corner of her mouth was gone and she had buttoned up her blouse once more, though I didn’t remember when she did that. She adjusted my clothes and wiped something off my lips as if she were my mother.
     I looked around. It wasn’t quite midnight yet, and we were the only ones there. A pimply faced kid sat on a stool behind the counter, dozing.
     “What are you anyway?”
     “We,” she said. “What are we?”
     I waited quietly for her to answer. I’d had enough drama and wanted to tell her off. Then I remembered the broken car door and decided silence was the better part of sarcasm. After a moment, she answered, her voice barely over a whisper.
     The word sounded familiar. I uttered it aloud, but it didn’t feel right. I knew the word, at least I thought I did, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was like trying to define verisimilitude or some other ridiculously large word. I knew it, but I also didn’t.
     She sensed my confusion. “Creatures of legend. We drink the blood of the living.”
     Her explanation rang a bell, but… “I don’t get it. I should know what you’re saying but—”
     “But you’ve forgotten,” she said. “Tell me, do you know where you live?”
     “Yeah, over on….” I pointed in some random direction, but I couldn’t be sure if it was the right way. I could see the street. I could see the building I lived in for the past five years, but I didn’t know the address. I couldn’t rattle off the nearest intersection to save my life.
     I started to rise. A fight-or-flight urge rose up in me and I wanted out of there fast. She didn’t give me the chance. Before I was halfway out of my seat, she pointed a finger at me and glanced at the dozing kid on the other side of the counter. She made a motion across her throat. Now it wasn’t just me on the line, but the kid as well. I sat down, forcing the panic away.
     She sat watching me for a moment. She gave me a small smile and then stood, sending her chair back a couple of feet. The kid behind the counter still didn’t react.
     “I will see you back home.”
     I panicked again. As much as I hated her, watching her walk out the door was too much to bear. “You’re leaving?”
     Her laugh was playful. “You think you’ll never see me again? We have forever to get to know each other.”
     “What if I run?”
     She narrowed her eyes. “You know better.”
     “Do I? I can’t seem to remember where I live, so I’m pretty sure I’ll forget where you live.”
     She looked at the college boy behind the counter once more. He didn’t react. He was either staring at his blackberry or catching up on the sleep that college students constantly missed.
     “You will know.” She leaned over the table. “In two weeks, you will forget everything, even this conversation. You will be a blank slate for me to write upon.” Her voice dropped to a whisper no human could hear, but I could. “But you will always know home.”
     She left, reaching the door so fast I almost didn’t see her. A bell chimed as she opened it, sending the college boy into a minor fit that nearly knocked him off his stool. She watched me out of the corner of her eye for a moment before disappearing into the Denver night.
     Even at my age, I still called Dad for advice. He seemed to know everything. I bet he didn’t know about this, and I didn’t think he would know what to do. I could still remember the phone number. I didn’t have my cell, but I could find a phone somewhere and call him collect.
     And that’s when I finally understood. This was all real. I knew in the car, but I didn’t accept it until that moment. It all sank in as I sat in a coffee shop whose name I could not recall when I realized I also could not recall my father’s name.

Read more here.